Revisiting Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

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Trader Sam’s officially opened yesterday, but as you likely know, it’s been in a soft opening for several weeks. Matt and I were hoping that the Nautilus vessel had arrived so we could order and add it to our collection, but alas, they only had them on hand for drinking, not bringing home.

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We arrived on a Saturday at around 3pm and were numbers 3 and 4 in the line that forms outside (more on that later). We were able to get seats at the actual bar, where we saw Chris working, a bartender we’ve known for a few years from The Wave and (I believe) the Outer Rim. Since I didn’t want to leave empty handed, I started with a HippopotoMai-Tai. (Please forgive some of these photos – my autofocus decided to stop working, so I was trying to use the manual mode in low light on the fly.)

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The HippopotoMai-Tai features Coruba Dark Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, Bols Orange Curacao, Orgeat, Organic Agave Nectar, and Fresh Lime Juice. This Mai Tai is more true to the classic beverage than say, The Captain’s Mai Tai on the standard WDW lounge menu, which features rum, amaretto, and fruit juice. (It’s been a while since I’ve looked at the cocktails on one of those menus – is it even still on there?) Anyway, I liked this drink, and it did come full – it just took a while with me fidgeting with getting my camera in some sort of working order. It was strong, but balanced, and it didn’t take too long for it to disappear on me.

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One of the drinks Matt ordered was Rosita’s Margarita. It features Casamigos Reposado Tequila, Bols Orange Curacao, Fresh Lime Juice, Falernum, and Organic Agave Nectar. I took a sip of this and the tequila was prominent, but otherwise was a solid choice for a Margarita.

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Matt had wanted to try the Tahitian Torch on our last visit, but he also wanted a souvenir glass, and mixing and matches glassware and drinks wasn’t an option. We also only had time for one drink that day, so the Torch was put on hold. The drink features ByeJoe Dragon Fire Spirit, Tropical Juices, Passion Fruit, and Fresh Lime Juice (again, this one did indeed come full). This drink had a nice tartness to it to balance the sweetness of the juice. It’s one that I would order for myself since I’m not a fan of sweet cocktails.

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I ordered the Mosquito Mojito, which features Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum, Organic Agave Nectar, Falernum, Mint, and Fresh Lime Juice topped with Soda Water. I really enjoyed this take on the mojito. I liked the slight fruitiness from the rum and how it paired with the mint. Matt took a sip and thought it was very good as well. This is one I wouldn’t mind enjoying outside at their Tiki Terrace.

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Of course, we had to order some food!

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Matt was interested in trying the Kalua Pork Tacos. They come topped with Cabbage and Pickled Vegetables.

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We thought the tacos were pretty good flavor-wise, but felt like they were a bit on the dry side in the sense that it could have used some kind of sauce.

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I had been wanting to try the Corn-Battered Portuguese Sausages which are served with Curry Ketchup. Matt and I both really liked this dish. I was surprised he did, because he’s not a fan of corn-dog type food. The sausages themselves had a great flavor, and the curry ketchup added a nice little extra oomph.

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So back to that line I mentioned earlier. A party of 10 with one wheelchair showed up about 10 minutes before opening and, despite the 50+ people in line at that point, were granted access first. One of the guests (number 1 in line), asked the CM why they were allowed access when he had been waiting for two hours (and they had – Matt had peeked outside at 2pm and they were indeed waiting). He was told there was only one area where they could accommodate a wheelchair, and he let them in as a courtesy. I have to say, I find this hard to believe, but I just wanted to put that out there. With its popularity and limited capacity indoors, I would have been frustrated beyond belief if I had been waiting and didn’t make the cut because of the “courtesy.” They run a tight ship with counting and hand-stamping guests and having essentially a bouncer at the door. I think it would have been fair to hold their spot at that point where the line ended and given them a pager, just like everyone else.

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Overall, though, we were then 13 and 14 in line and were still able to sit where we had wanted. We were able to enjoy a more leisurely pace than our first visit and enjoy some delicious cocktails and food. We enjoy the atmosphere, but if we’re just after drinks, a visit to the Tiki Terrace would be in play.

Have you had a chance to visit Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto? Have you opted for the Tiki Terrace instead?

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3 responses to “Revisiting Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

  1. I’m really looking forward to trying Trader Sams. I’m curious how long the wait is to get in if you go at night.

    I have to admit I would be livid if I waited in line for hours in the heat only to have such a large family with one person in a wheel chair go in front of me. Even more upset if they came last minute and got in and I waited and did not get in. I am all for making exceptions when needed for disabilities but there has to be consideration for others. As far as I know families with a member in a wheel chair don’t get into restaurants faster and have to wait like others. Why is it different with a bar? Wondering how many people are going to start taking advantage of this perk now that we know it works.

  2. We were in the grotto for around an hour (so it was hovering near 5pm) and I stepped out to use the restroom. I overheard the “bouncer” telling a guest who wanted a pager that it was at least an hour wait at that point. I’ve seen tweets for a Friday night at around 7pm that it was a two hour wait. I wonder if they’ll eventually extend operating hours to earlier in the day to accommodate more guests.

    Regarding the wheelchair incident, I would hope there will be some stricter enforcement in the future. Perhaps this was a “courtesy” in the sense of making the person’s day a bit more “magical,” and we were just being fed a line about there only being one space to accommodate the wheelchair. I mean, this was a party of 10 – a party that was taking up nearly 1/5th of the interior’s capacity, with nine people fully capable of standing in line like the rest of us. There is plenty of seating with low tables and chairs that can be moved out of the way for a guest (or more than one guest) in a wheelchair to be accommodated. The space was just built out and would have to be ADA compliant. It just really bothers me when people who follow the rules get the short end of the stick (like those who were just north of #40 in line this particular day…).

  3. We just returned from WDW. Got to Trader Sam’s at 11:15pm – walked right in with no wait. Plenty of tine to order a drink and soak up the atmosphere. They didn’t shove you out after last call either. If you can wait till late to go, do so.